top of page

Feeling better thanks to body psychotherapy through touch

Updated: Nov 21, 2021

Body psychotherapy through touch is a method of counselling and support that enables people to regain physical and psychological well-being when they are going through a difficult period in their lives or when their body expresses discomfort.

Photo credit : Wix ©

Life difficulties or life changes (bereavement, separation or difficult relationship, trauma, physical or psychological abuse, burnout or stress at work) can indeed strongly impact us both physically and emotionally.

This can lead us to feel anxiety, stressed or emotional, as well as causing us to feel physical tension or even psychosomatic disorders (1). To the point of preventing us from peacefully living our relationship with others and with oneself.

Sometimes these tensions are linked to problematic situations from the past, sometimes they reflect difficulties experienced on a daily basis.

This method called "Relation d'Aide par le Toucher®" places the expression of the person at the heart of the helping process, either through what he/she lives and feels in his/her body, or in his/her life. It belongs to the family of so-called "brief" body-mediated psychotherapies (body psychotherapy) placed in the field of humanistic therapies.

What are the benefits of this method?

In addition to helping the unwinding of psychosomatic disorders related to past or present life situations, body psychotherapy through touch may bring the person a lasting well-being by bringing greater muscle relaxation, smoother breathing, a better relationship to oneself and others. It helps reduce chronic pain, thanks to effective and recognized massage techniques and it helps to alleviate both physical and emotional suffering through benevolent support and empathetic listening.

A method where touch and breathing harmonize to help you feel better

Touch is the most instinctive and authentic communication mode. When it is benevolent, it restores confidence in oneself and in others; it is one of the oldest forms of support.

Body psychotherapy through touch favours both the resolution of problematic life situations and the resolution of the psychosomatic disorders [1] that they engender. It combines massage techniques and a verbal approach in an empathetic listening, centred on the person and his or her experiences and emotions. The combination of the two allows the person to take some distance to become aware of their life behaviours, beliefs and ways of thinking, in particular what blocks them and prevents them from moving forward in life, but also to become aware of their strengths, of the resources they have at their disposal to find alternatives and live differently according to their needs.

photo credit: Toa Heftiba (unsplash)

This method, taught for over 30 years, was developed by Jean-Louis Abrassart, a french therapist, and is recognized by the French Federation of Body-psychotherapy (FF2S). For people suffering from trauma or abuse issues, it offers a specific approach inspired by Dr. Clyde Ford. On the other hand, it is insufficient on its own in cases of addiction and unsuitable in cases of proven psychiatric disorders.

How does the support process unroll?

This method effectively combines traditional touch techniques (Californian or shiatsu massage, reflexology, Korean relaxation), conscious breathing and psychotherapeutic tools. This gradually helps to resolve physical and emotional tensions. The accompaniement of bodily feelings, sensations, emotions and associated awareness allows the person to distance oneself from what is wrong and sense what could be better experienced. Then to overcome difficulties by allowing oneself to imagine new ways of doing things in order to get back on tracks by integrating new resources for the future.

The counseling process takes place over a series of individual and regular sessions where the consultant and therapist mutually engage in this frame. In a confidential, benevolent and reassuring environment, this follow-up is put into perspective with a life and body objective, identified at the start of the cycle of sessions, verifiable and attainable during the follow-up time.

For example, this might be the wish to clarify or pacify a relationship issue, such as going through an important stage in one's life (mourning, difficult separation, relational commitment, burn out), to find more meaning in an action such as a professional project or a personal one, to alleviate an emotionally difficult phase or physical tensions, to live more harmoniously. This journey is part of a collaborative spirit where the person is invited to take part of its improvement process.

Who is it for ? Why using this method?

Any adult person wishing to get better in their body and their life can resort to body psychotherapy though touch, except for people suffering from psychotic disorder . For example, here are some reasons that could lead to consult a practitioner offering this method:

  • You want to do personal work, bring meaning to your actions;

  • You wish to operate or integrate a change of life or to make life choices more in accordance with your intrinsic needs;

  • You lack self-confidence, have a feeling of failure in what you are doing;

  • You are subject to stress or are going through a difficult situation at work (harassment, burnout);

  • You feel overwhelmed by events, anxious, stressed;

  • You regularly feel sad or irritable;

  • You feel stiff, awkward in your posture;

  • You suffer from chronic physical pain (back, joints) or digestive issues (1)

  • You have sleep problems or chronic fatigue;

  • You have difficulty expressing and fully living a satisfactory sexuality;

  • You are undergoing or have undergone a situation of abuse, a trauma (sexual violence, psychological violence, assault, accident).

In all these cases, finding a support combining body and speech is precious and complementary to conventional medical care. It makes it possible to give meaning to ailments, to overcome these difficult periods in order to feel better durably in your body and in your life.

How to find a practitioner near you ?

Nearly 200 practitioners in France and Belgium are trained in Relation d'Aide par le Toucher ®. If you need to find a practitioner near you, you can consult the web search platforms, specific directories or refer directly to the site of the School Espace de Ressourcement which lists practitioners in activity (click here to consult the website).

Philippe Bien

Body psychotherapy through touch - Relation d'Aide par le Toucher®


Feldenkrais™ method practitioner

To find out more about my support offers, go to : click here

To learn more about this same thematic, see the following articles :

  • Reprendre des forces avec la somatothérapie (Psychologies Magazine). Go to the article : clic-ici

  • Thérapie psychocorporelle (Santé Magazine ; 11/02/2019). Go to the article : clic-ici

  • Body psychotherapy: a method where the body has a say (blog). Go to the article : click-here

[1] Chronic health issues without injury or medical cause.

The statements, techniques and methods presented in this publication are part of a wellness approach, complementary to conventional care. They are not a substitute for ongoing medical treatment and do not exempt you from consulting a doctor whenever necessary.

© Inamovemento - 2021 / photo credits: Wix / Toa Heftiba

Did you like this article ? Click on one of the icons below to share it:

15 views0 comments
bottom of page